Chennai Super Kings continued their superb start to the IPL season with a resounding five-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Sharjah.
Fresh from a convincing victory over Mumbai Indians on Friday, where their bowlers were at their best, the Kings picked up from where they left off after being put in with the ball first.
Australian Ben Hilfenhaus did the early damage to the Sunrisers’ order, taking the wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner in the third over, and the tone was very much set from then on.
Opener Aaron Finch aside, Sunrisers failed to produce the goods at the crease as they set a very reachable total of 145/5.
Finch chalked up 44 runs in a frustrating innings for Tom Moody’s team, though Karan Sharma’s 17 from seven balls at the death gave them a little bit of hope heading into Kings’ turn with the bat.
|Sunrisers Hyderabad: 145/5 (20 overs)|
|Aaron Finch||b Mohit Sharma||44||45||5/0|
|Shikhar Dhawan||c Mithun Manhas b Ben Hilfenhaus||7||9||1/0|
|David Warner||lbw Ben Hilfenhaus||0||2||0/0|
|Lokesh Rahul||c Ishwar Pandey b Dwayne Smith||25||27||1/1|
|Venugopal Rao||c Dwayne Smith b Mohit Sharma||13||15||0/0|
|Darren Sammy||NOT OUT||23||15||2/1|
|Karan Sharma||NOT OUT||17||7||0/2|
Chennai Super Kings got their reward for a super bowling display, as their batsmen reached Sunrisers’ total with minimal fuss to bring about their fourth victory in five IPL matches this season.
Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum kicked things off in style by breezing through the powerplay with 47 runs, as Sunrisers once again failed to take a wicket in the first six overs.
Smith romped to a half-century against a lacklustre Sunrisers bowling outfit but was dismissed for 66 for the third wicket of the innings following a Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivery.
The wicket seemed to bring SRH’s bowlers to life and they made Kings fight for the victory in the final overs of the match, but the late storm wasn't enough to avoid defeat.
Faf du Plessis and Ravindra Jadeja were dismissed for miniscule totals, but the power of the order was enough to see Kings over the line with MS Dhoni firing the winning runs with three balls remaining.
|Chennai Super Kings: 146/5 (19.3 overs)|
|Dwayne Smith||c David Warner b Bhuvneshwar Kumar||66||46||4/5|
|Brendon McCullum||b Karan Sharma||40||33||3/2|
|Suresh Raina||c Venugopal Rao b Ishant Sharma||14||10||1/1|
|MS Dhoni||NOT OUT||13||14||1/0|
|Faf Du Plessis||c Lokesh Rahul b Bhuvneshwar Kumar||0||1||0/0|
|Ravindra Jadeja||b Ishant Sharma||6||9||0/0|
|Mithun Manhas||NOT OUT||3||4||0/0|
McCullum, who chalked up 40 runs on Sunday, said that Kings’ strategy is to go for the jugular in every match as they have the firepower to do damage all over the order—per IPLT20.com, via ESPN Cricinfo:
Our strategy as a team is to go all-out for 20 overs and given we have so many attacking batsmen, we can afford to go with that mindset. This line-up is filled with power-hitters. If Smith and I get out, there is Raina, Faf, Dhoni, Bravo—they just keep coming. And if any of those guys bat for long, they will score big.
While it didn’t quite work out like that at the bottom of the order for Chennai Super Kings on Sunday, the Kiwi and Smith did enough to ensure that their side joined Kings XI Punjab at the top of the IPL table on eight points.
Next up for the Kings is Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL’s first match away from the Middle East this season; and it’s bound to be a thriller.
With the Kings’ openers in fine fettle and both in the top-three run scorers in the IPL in 2014—per ESPN Cricinfo—they’ll be full of confidence against the topsy-turvy Knight Riders on May 2.
For Sunrisers Hyderabad, though, key lessons will need to be taken away from Sunday’s tie, particularly in the importance of early wickets.
They’ll take on the IPL’s basement franchise, Mumbai Indians, on Wednesday, looking to get back to winning ways after a disappointing start so far.
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